Poll: who should be the next World Bank president?

The US has monopolised the Bank presidency since 1944, but leadership selection at the International Financial Institutions is becoming increasingly contested. There have been repeated promises by the Bank to open up the process and select candidates based on merit, in a fair and transparent way. As developing countries become increasingly confident and assertive this could be the year that sees the emergence of a real challenge against the US hold over the position.

But who would the credible candidates be?  Below are nine heavy-weight possible candidates from developing countries. Who do you think would be the best for the job?

Who should be the next World Bank President?

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Luisa Diogo

Luisa Diogo became the first female president of Mozambique in 2004. After rising through the finance ministry in the 1980s she became National Budget Director and in 1994 joined the FRELIMO government as Deputy Minister of Finance.  Diogo has a Masters degree in financial economics and worked for the World Bank in Mozambique at the beginning of the 1990s. Diogo is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders and has campaigned for women’s empowerment and free sexual health services throughout Africa.


Michelle Bachelet

In 2002 Bachelet became the first female defence minister of Chile and in 2006 she was elected as the first female president of Chile. In her election campaign she pledged to continue Chile’s free-market policies, whilst increasing social benefits to reduce inequalities between rich and poor. As a student in the 1970s under Pinochet, Bachelet campaigned for democracy until she was exiled to Germany. A qualified pediatrician, Bachelet worked for the Ministry of Health when democracy was restored and rose to become Minister for Health. In the post she sparked controversy by allowing free distribution of the morning-after pill for victims of sexual abuse. In 2010 she was appointed head of UN Women.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Okonjo was recently reappointed Minister of Finance for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Between 2007 and 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was a Managing Director at the World Bank and was touted as a possible candidate for president of the World Bank to replace Paul Wolfowitz in 2007. She previously held roles as a finance minister and a foreign minister in the Nigerian government, the first woman to hold either of these roles. In 2005 Okonjo-Iweala led negotiations with the Paris Club bilateral donors, securing a US $18 billion debt write-off for Nigeria to alleviate Nigeria’s debt-servicing difficulties.


Marina Silva

Marina Silva, a native Amazonian and former Senator served as Brazilian Environment Minister from 2003 until 2008. A staunch advocate of environmental protection and sustainable development, during her tenure she was widely praised for pushing an innovative and integrated environmental policy and overseeing a reduction in deforestation in the Amazon. In 2007 the United Nations Environmental Program named her one of the Champions of the Earth. In 2009 she left the Workers Party and joined the Green Party to run as a presidential candidate in 2010. Contrary to expectations she gained 19.4% of the popular vote.


Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Sri Mulyani Indrawati is an Indonesian economist and currently serves as one of three Managing Directors of the World Bank Group. She has extensive experience in international financial institutions having served as an executive director on the board of the IMF from 2002-2004, representing 12 South East Asian economies. From 2005 to 2010 she served as Indonesian Finance Minister where she was regarded as tough reformer. She initiated wide-scale actions to tackle corruption and attract foreign direct investment, and in 2007 oversaw a growth rate of 6.6%, the highest Indonesian growth rate since 1997. During her tenure foreign reserves vastly increased and public debt reduced. She is widely credited with steering Indonesia through the global financial crisis, with the economy reaching high rates of growth in a period of economic turmoil and widespread recession.


Trevor Manuel

Trevor Manuel currently serves as South African Minister in charge of the highly influential National Planning Commission. A long serving member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, Manuel was a high profile anti-Apartheid figure and was frequently detained by security forces. Chosen by Nelson Mandela to be Minister of Trade and Industry in the first South African democratically government in 1994, he became Minister of Finance in 1996, a post he held until 2009. During his tenure he is widely credited with overseeing a shift to steady economic growth and a large increase in public spending on housing, health and education. Widely respected in international policy circles he has received numerous awards and recognition for his achievements. He has also chaired influential international committees that have recommended reform of the international financial system.


Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva

Lula was president of Brazil from 2002 until 2010 and is widely regarded as one of the most popular and respected politicians in recent Latin American history. He was a founding member of the Workers Party in Brazil, which followed a long career in the union movement, including prominent activism against the Brazilian military dictatorship in the 1970s. Under Lula’s presidency Brazil became the world’s fifth largest economy on the back of strong economic growth, state investment in infrastructure and key industries, and a conservative monetary policy. Large-scale social programmes were central to Lula’s popularity, and have been credited with bringing as many as 20 million out of acute poverty. Lula has also been praised for his important foreign policy role in the rise of BRIC countries internationally, and strong leadership in Latin America.


Jairam Ramesh

Ramesh was recently appointed Minister of Rural Development of India. He was previously Minister of State at the Ministry of Environment and Forests, participating as chief negotiator at the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. In the 1990s he was an influential advisor to the Finance Minister in India’s economic reforms. Economist and influential politician of the centre-left Congress Party, Ramesh studied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late seventies and is a founding member of the Indian School of Business as well as member of the International Council of the New York-based Asia Society.


Kemal Derviş

Derviş held various positions at the World Bank for 22 years, including Director for the Central Europe Department, Vice-President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa Region, and Vice-President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management. After his period at the Bank he was appointed Turkish Finance Minister and is considered to be the architect of Turkish successful economic recovery after the 2001 crisis. His international reputation allowed him to be the third highest ranking official at the UN, when he was elected in 2005 as UNDP Administrator. Last year he was widely touted as a leading  contender for the IMF Managing Director position, but quickly ruled himself out of the election process. He is currently Vice President and Director of the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution.

164 thoughts on “Poll: who should be the next World Bank president?

    • You mean the Bank Senior Economist Mick Riordan? Surely that wouldn’t bring much prospect of deep reform at the institution??

  1. I suggest Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil and the true architect of the country’s turnaround. He has a keen, broadscope, development outlook and the managerial and political skills to implement an inclusive program that does not oppose developing and developed countries.

  2. Governor Jon Corzine. He understands financial alchemy. He was able to make $1.5BN in segregated customer funds disappear.

  3. I think that Dr. Mohieldin will be perfect for such appointment:

    Mahmoud Mohieldin, born on 15 January 1965 in Egypt, was appointed in September 2010 to be one of the Managing Directors of the World Bank Group.

    Prior to his appointment, Dr. Mohieldin was the Minister of Investment of the Arab Republic of Egypt, a position he held during 2004-2010. His portfolio included investment policy; the management of state-owned assets; and non-banking financial services, including capital markets, insurance and mortgage finance.

    Mohieldin has also served as a Professor in Financial Economics, at the Faculty of Economics & Political Science, Cairo University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Economics, with highest Honors, First in Order of Merit, from Cairo University, a Master of Science in Economic and Social Policy Analysis from the University of York, England in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Warwick, England in 1995.

    • Um, I’m going to be polite and suggest that you’re not all that well-informed about Egyptian politics. The multi-billion dollar illegal privatisation schemes which form the basis of Hosni, Gamal and Ala’a Mubarak’s corruption trials were organised through three men: Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who’s been sentenced to a total of thirty five years in prison in absentia, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, ditto, and Mohamed Mohieldin, who’s suffered the much grimmer fate of working for the World Bank. On the other hand, if you wanted to send a more honest message about the World Bank’s function in developing countries: WE ARE HERE TO STEAL YOUR MONEY THROUGH DODGY PRIVATE SECTOR ACTIVITIES, Mohieldin would be an ideal choice.

      See: http://www.whistleblower.org/blog/42-2012/1688-mahmoud-mohieldin-and-the-perfect-crime

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  7. Surprising there has been no mention of Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and – in this context, more apposite – long-serving Chancellor of the Exchequer. Brown’s record of negotiating debt cancellation for the world’s poorest nations, tripling Britain’s development aid budget and securing international funds for health care in the Third World would stand him in good stead.
    Brown is still a player on the global stage and last month he was in Davos among the big-money movers and shakers at the annual World Economic Forum, for which he is unpaid adviser.
    In other parts of the world there are actually those who think there is some truth in Brown’s famous slip of the tongue at prime minister’s questions on his rescue of the banks :”We not only saved the world …” to hoots of derision from the Tories. One political economist recently gave his verdict that Brown deserved at least part of the credit for ‘keeping the world economy afloat in 2008-2009 and an excellent claim of having saved the UK’.
    A CBS interview for his book Beyond The Crash was headlined: “Can Brown do more for the world’s poor out of power than he ever did when he was in power?”
    On his international outings, Brown talks of a three-stage recovery which must be backed by a global early warning system and regulation of the banks ‘to stop them operating capitalism when they have no capital’:
    “Stage One was to prevent a Great Depression and the world did come together to do that. Stage Two is building a financial system which is stable and sustainable. Stage Three getting growth into the economy so people can have jobs. In the US and Europe we haven’t reached that point. We are being out-produced, out-invested and out-manufactured by China, India and the rest of the world. We have to set a course for the future where we can create jobs and get growth but you need a stable financial system to do that.”

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  11. ERNESTO ZEDILLO, FORMER PRESIDENT OF MEXICO.
    He is is the Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; Professor in the Field of International Economics and Politics; Professor of International and Area Studies; and Professor Adjunct of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.

    • why? is it just as he destroyed the left in TR? by being a satellite of USA to build warm Islam in TR. Be clever Müjgan

    • Dervis was the key person in the transformation of Turkey from a sovereign state to a satelite in the future capitalistic global oligarchy. He would do their master’s bidding very well, as probably the other candidates also would.

  12. Ben bu günkü Türkiye’nin ekonomik durumunun temelleri Kemal Derviş’in Maliye Bakanı olduğu zamana dayandığına inanıyorum.Böyle bir başarılı bir bürokratın Dünya Ekonomisini de düzeltebileceğine inanıyorum.Tabii onun denetimindeki bir ekiple birlikde.

  13. I hate Kemal Derwish as a Turk. He was attempted by USA to destroy the leftists in Turkey and handed the economy to those exploiters after regulated. He is a satellite run by USA. He can not even be a doorman at my apartment. Idiots who does not know this man managed by imperialism keep sending votes to him. He is a real oriental dancer

    • The man has established the basics of today’s strong financial infrastructure which has helped Turkey so far
      to bypass the global economical tumbledown. That is even without major contribution from today’s incompetent team who only invest their time and energy in turning the country into a non-secular, non-democratic state. The destroying of “left” unfortunately is a global affair rather than limited to this country.

    • Sri Mulyani is also a satelite run by USA. and see the poll result.. who’s on top? Sri Mulyani and Kemal Dervish. It’s all about USA :)

      • We need to take over USA tool for ruling the world from his hand, one by one, using our skill, our ability and our integrity, not using the gun. The world economic system with all their critization are ours, not owned by USA. Let’s encourage the World Bank to improv the welfare of mankind.

        • Sri Mulyani will bring much prospect of deep reform at the institution at the future..
          I believe that..
          Bravo Sri Mulyani

  14. I vote Sri Mulyani Indrawati the iron women from Asia, that succeeded lifting Indonesia and many Asian country from economic crisis.

  15. These names are laughable, derisory. Ngozi, Mulyani, Dervish etc were/are disasters in the Bank. Dervish especially as noted by the NYT, another “DSK”. The fact that these names are put forward only demonstrates that “the public” cannot be trusted to choose a viable President.

    • These are the “credible” ones with senior level experience in the Bank. Please put up some other names for people to consider. Maybe Lael Brainard will read the blog…

      Let’s not forget that to about 99% of the world the name Wolfowitz was also laughable.

    • how do you know that???? SRI MULYANI had been worked in IMF, USAID, WORLD BANK… if you are saying that this woman is disaster… what should you call the people who chosed her????

  16. Sri Mulyani had done very good job for Indonesia while holding the position of Minister of Finance of Indonesia and while working as Managing Director for World Bank. She should be given this responsibility to help the world recovering from the Global Economy Crisis

  17. Sri Mulyani Indrawati is complete and whole person representing the new world order: the figure of the modern Moslem women who represent a silent majority of Muslims world full of brotherhood; looking at the world of poverty from the perspective of a female Sri Mulyani: Economic modernization as a bridge participation of all groups (as defined Antony Giddens); bring the world bank is looking to serve all walks of the world’s top professional manner. From Indonesia, we provide full support ….

        • @bardhono @flm

          Mr. Dahlan Iskan will be the next President.

          He is an innovative leader, and he is definitely one of the good guys who are actually capable of practicing good leadership.

          Republic of Indonesia doesn’t need more Army Presidents nor another Civilian Generalissimos. No we don’t need them.

          Indonesia needs an innovative leader who has a great entrepreneurship spirit and have a great vision into the future.

          No more politisi-politisi karbitan (uncapable politicians) nor pejabat-pejabatan karbitan (incapable government officials) in our system.

          The global outlook for South East Asian countries, Asian and Indonesia would be much more promising, if these kinds of people leads Indonesia into a better future.

          After all, we are the citizen of the world. It’s a new beginning.

          Hope for the best,
          God Bless Indonesia, and God Bless An United Earth.

  18. Vote for Sri Mulyani Indrawati as President of Worl Bank. She saved Indonesia from economic global crisis. She and WB will save the world.

  19. How can we forget Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the head of India’s Planning Commission. After graduating from University of Oxford, he joined the World Bank during the tenures of Hollis Chenery and Robert MacNamara. At the age of 28, he became the youngest “Division Chief” in the World Bank’s bureaucracy. He was also the first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund. As the Economist put it in its latest (Feb 18th, 2012) edition, ‘economists and bureaucrats have a collective crush on “Montek”, who is undoubtedly brainy, and also “brilliant” …’

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  21. Vote for Sri Mulyani Indrawati 100% for World Bank President to save the world from economic global crisis. She is the right person on the right time for that position.

  22. 100% Vote fo SRI MULYANI INDRAWATI for World Bank President. She is the right person on the right time for that position. She will save the world from economic global crisis

  23. Sri Mulyani Indrawati is the only woman on board who has lifted Indonesia from finansial crisis, and other minor casualties.

    Humbling personality, she is a smile among the crowds. She once a hope for Indonesia.

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  25. SRI MULYANI is one of the toughest woman in the world… she had give much contributions in developing Indonesia’s economy… She commits of all she will do…. she is such a talented, honest, intellectual, and high-integrity… well, if i want to say it’s enough for US to control the World Bank.. it’s enough for US to fill up that position… it’s time for Asian leader… and that leader is SRI MULYANI !!!!!

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  28. Given the length of each trip, there are four potential candidates; Sri Mulyani, Lula da Silva, Trevor Manuel and Dervis. But I tend to be from internal World Bank is Sri Mulyani.

  29. By My think, Sri Mulyani Indrawati is the best shot for this election. She has all requirements that a World Bank President requires and best the Woman Finance Policies.

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  31. I have a strong belief that Sri Mulyani Indrawati would make significant contributions to the dignity of World Bank in helping many nations to top up their prosperities if she became the WB President. Her progressive thoughts, though sometimes considered controversial, would create remarkable breakthroughs to solve many current global financial crisis.

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  33. I vote for Dr. Mohammad Yunus. He is a Noble-laureate from Bangladesh. He is an Economist by training who has worked on poverty alleviation over the last 37 years. He can bring forward an emphasis on the developing nations which are the recepients of World Bank fundings. It would great for bringing about change!

  34. Mary Robinson

    Former president of Ireland, former High Commissioner for Human Rights, and an unwavering advocate for the social and environmental justice. A career of experience and success in communicating and convincing worlld governments and policy makers of the dire needs to address the vulnerabilities of the most needy, while understanding and workign creatively within the limits and realities of global development politics. Difficult to find a more legitimate candidate.

  35. I vote Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for the president of world bank. I think he’s suitable because he (thinks he) has been increasing economy development of Indonesia and (he thinks) he’s important guy in this world. Moreover, he’s also a satelite run by USA, world bank and USA will love it. And one of the most important reason is Because I want he finishes his job as president of Indonesia as soon as possible.

    • You just want to say : you don’t care WB. Don’t waste your time to to post comment here. And don’t hope others support your political agenda here.

  36. Dear..dear..
    Everyone is voting candidates from their own countries.. This won’t work right. It’s another typical country fanaticism..

  37. I’m also indonesian, let’s put aside the fact that Sri Mulyani Indrawati is the former of Minister of Finance of Indonesia and she saved the economy crisis in Indonesia. Let open our eyes wider and see it from different angle, that the true world bank President is the one need to overseen the way how to lead the world future to the better condition and agains poverty in this world like Africa and Asia and how to keep maintain the stabilization of the economy in developed country so that can be pillar of the world economy. The world bank president didn’t need the requirement of how good he/she ever done before but how he/she can change the world to the brightest future and againts poverty, famine, corruption and many more things that the future President of world bank knows better what it should take, I think Trevor Manuel is a good candidate for the position as the President of World Bank.

    • Even though I’m trully South African, I think Sri Mulyani Indrawati is the best one than other candidat for position as the Word Bank President

  38. She knows her job very well. Supporting by her academic, professional experience, and political movement backgound, I believe she will bring the World Bank on the right track for all benefit. “VINI, VIDI, VICI in DC” for SMI

  39. Berjuang disana mungkin lebih baik daripada pulang g keruan.
    Suasana DN saat ini, hanya akan membuat ibu menjadi korban revolusi sia-sia.
    Saya pribadi sangat ingin menikmati karya-karya IBU selanjutnya, sy pikir disana sangat pas.
    Salam

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  41. I vote for Sri Mulyani Indrawati,the tough “Iron lady” of Indonesia that has proven genius,strong and honest !

  42. It’s time for the emerging countries representative to be the nominee. They are all are eligible to be nominated and chosen. If the US and EU countries are really democratic states, then they should agreed to support a person who has a wider, more experienced and has the knowledge in dealing with the global north-south issues.
    I nominate Sri Mulyani Indrawati to the post of the next President of World Bank.

  43. Sri Mulyani Indrawati is one of the best world asset economic leader. let we see and let her bring us in better life in the world. go head Sri Mulyani………..

  44. I vote for Dr. Mohammad Yunus.

    Dr. Mohammad Yunus is the best candidate in terms of comprehension regarding adept organization of economies, heading towards true developments. Such praises are frequently made by the communities of the US and the EU.

  45. I vote Sri Mulyani. She has a good leadership, excellent and an open mind. Bravo SMI.., the best candidate for the next President World Bank !!

  46. Well, voted for Indrawati, isnt because her name or whatever but what has she done in Indonesia is absolutely remarkable !! stability, low inflation, high growth rate, reform minded !! and what the world needed is stability !! and what the world needed is Indrawati !! and i think the world bank is luckier than Indonesia to have her working in their group…

  47. I vote Sri Mulyani Indrawati, because she initiate clean goverment, starting from Financial Department. I hope she can lead WB .

  48. Sri Mulyandi is favored for the World Bank’s President?? NO WAY! It is not going to happen till th end of the world. Not because Sri Mulyani is not capable of. She is very capable. The substantial reason why she cannot hold that job is that the WORLD BANK BELONGS TO THE USA. America is the biggest shareholder of the bank. In addition, the Word Bank and the IFM are the tools of the industrialized countries to control or to recolonize the poor developing countries economically. And this has been going on for more than 60 years now sinced the creation of the World Bank and IMF in 1944 Bretonwood Conference in America.. According to the long standing traditions so far, as a result, the preident of the World Bank is always from the USA (he is the hand-picked of the American president for the job) and the President of IMFis always from Europe. Can a debtor country or an economiclly colonized country like Indonesia be elected president of the the World Bank that belong to the modern colonial powers? If is possible, it will be something very WEIRD. I do not believe it is going to happen.

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  50. I think Ms. Sri Mulyani able to carry out the duties and responsibilities as President of the World Bank in a professional manner. Indeed many people or groups, or personal good of the country and from abroad who hold the view that the presence of Ms. Sri Mulyani as President of the World Bank, meant to be tools or accomplices of the United States. This dikarekan United States wants to rule the world.

    Is this true?

    Or only for issues that only in gembar heralded by certain circles or groups who do not like the United States??

    Or maybe if it was to dominate the world, so what?? If you do not want the United States under the state of each State should improve its quality in any professional field, so it can compete with other countries.

    It is time to think positively to the welfare of mankind throughout the world without regard or distinction of any kind, here’s what we said or worldwide campaign for all, not a negative outlook, adding the issue of the world and make human beings do not think for one another to love one another, love and promoting good civilization to realize the welfare of mankind throughout the world. The best opportunity for Ms. Sri Mulyani when nominate or be nominated as President of the World Bank, and we as children of the nation certainly hope that the leadership can function properly in a professional manner.

  51. am Indonesian, No matter she or he. No matter west or east. No matter holds PhD or not. Now, we are in the same boat, where facing global financial crisis, imbalances and more than that world economic collapse. We need a person who bravely saying world economy in the wrong way…..it looks Professor Nassim “Black Swan”Thaleeb. Vote for better world

  52. Ooh, Afrial Syarti says my thoughts are narrow? Ooh, well. I think she did not get my point. I am 100% Indonesian. I know Sri Muliani, even personally. I love her in broad sense. I would be very happy if she could get elected the World Bank. But is it possible? I said no. I know quite At least academically I know quite well about the World Bank and IMF. They were invented by the USA and UK. Since their establishment, these twin International Financial Institutions have been very undemocratic and not transparent. They have impoverished and will continue to impoverish the delopingcountries in the world including Indonesia. Sukarno hated the World Bank and IMF. Because he knew who and what they are. They have been the tools of the colonial powers to recolonize the poor countries economically. Indonesia’s debt from them is huge. If this debt is divided into 238 million Indonesian today, each one of us including babies has debt in amount about Rp 6.0000.000 that each one of us has to pay back to the IMF and the World Bank. If we can not pay, interest goes one and Indonesia’s debt becomes bigger and bigger every year. If you have debt, the IMF and the World Bank can dictate anything on Indonesia many things. Because of this evil, Eric Toussaint from France and John Pilgir from Australia have called for shutdown or diperssion of this institutions and the southern counties build their own. Masih ndak percaya bacalah buku2 berikut. Aku masih “narrow”. Booo…p, it is only according to your opinion.
    1. Richard Peet, Unholy Trinity: The IMF, the World Bank and WTO (London – New York: Zed Books, 2009)
    2. Erict Toussaint and Damien Millet,Debt, the IMF and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers (New York: Monthly New Press, 2010).
    3. Josepth E. Stiglitz, Freefall America, Free Markets and the Singking of the World Economy (New York – Londong:2010)
    4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontent (London: Penguin Books, 2002)
    5.The Risks We Run: Mining, Communities and Political Risk Insurance (London: International Books,2005).
    Dan masih ada banyak yg lain. Semua buku ini ditulis ahli ekonomi/professor di Amerika sendiri dan Inggris. Aku udah baca semua. So, aku ndak asal omong. It would be a miracle if Sri Mulyani get the job. Love and Peace. John

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  54. Re. Kemal Derviş: Now hang on: are we sure that Turkey is “having a successful economic recovery”? The early stages of a depression sees some countries looking successful while they play beggar-my-neighbour. That’s why Germany looks ok, as it eats the remnants of everyone else’s lunches. The lesson of the Great Depression is that given globalization it is *not possible* to recover unless everyone everyone else follows an expansionary policy too. So it seems to me prima facie that Turkey’s indicators should not be taken at face value, though I am open to arguments to the contrary.

  55. If you dont agree, sri Mulayani be World bank president.Its ok, no problem. She can be our president for the next..

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